Book review: Playing to the Gallery

Playing to the Gallery- Grayson Perry
When I saw Grayson Perry speak at the Southbank Centre recently, I was excited to discover my ticket price included a copy of his new book, Playing to the Gallery. The book is essentially an exploration into all those questions people have about contemporary art: What qualifies as art? How can ordinary objects or blank canvases be placed in a gallery and labelled art? It's more or less a guidebook to help those who are not in the art elite understand the movement. With a little bit of art history thrown in, Perry peppers his book with personal, often witty anecdotes, and his own wry illustrations.
Playing to the Gallery is neatly divided into four main sections which explore different themes: How to guage quality, how to define art, whether art is still possible of shocking people, and how to become a contemporary artist. Perry is completely non-judgemental and comes across as a very accepting, welcoming member of the "art mafia". He's not snooty or snobby about art; he doesn't force his own opinions on the reader or in any way sneer at art. Instead, he seems to have an appreciation for all forms of art, even if they are not all to his taste. This open-mindedness allows for a well-rounded exploration of the themes in the book.

Although Perry seemingly intends his book to demystify contemporary art for those who are not educated in art history, I did find that he has a tendency to slip into "art speak". Having not attended art college, some of his vocabulary was only accessible to me through use of my sharp reading comprehension and this made it difficult to focus when reading before bed. It was ironic that his attempts to clear up the art world had the potential to leave me, who I consider fairly well-versed in my art knowledge, more confused. 
However, Perry is definitely an engaging writer, and his intelligent illustrations raised a fair few chuckles. Although it may not be the best starting point for somebody trying to develop their understanding of contemporary art, it's certainly an interesting read.

1 comment :

  1. This books looks super cute & interesting!

    x leah symonne x


I read all comments and appreciate every single one, even if I can't always reply. If you have a question or need a reply, feel free to tweet me @BeckyBedbug- I always reply to tweets!

Blog Design by Get Polished | Copyright Becky Craggs 2017